A centre of great historical and artistic importance, Alba is commonly known as the capital of the Langhe.
Date: Late Antique phases (6th century); 12th-century bell tower; modern modifications.
Alba’s importance dates back to its ancient origins: archaeological investigations have shown that Alba was one of Piedmont’s most important built-up areas during Roman times, and even obtained the special status of municipium.
Among Alba’s most significant sights, the cathedral of San Lorenzo is certainly worthy of note. In Gothic style, it has a central position, dominating what is now known as Piazza Risorgimento.
One of the most interesting things about this building is its combination of architectural styles: the bell tower is of Romanesque construction, built in the 12th century and left intact after the reconstructions ordered by Bishop Andrea Novelli between the 15th and 16th centuries.
Other modifications were made in the following centuries, leading up to the considerable interventions made in the 19th century. Additionally, recent excavations inside the building have shown the existence of an even older phase, bringing to light structures dating back to the 6th century, including, notably, a baptismal font.
However, it is the Romanesque bell tower, with its various levels (with orders of one-, two- and four-lancet windows) that attracts attention, and finds stylistic echoes in other similar architecture around Alba, like the bell tower of Santa Maria in Neive.